Thursday, June 15, 2006
Penrith Survival Tin
A survival kit usually contains the absolute bare essentials that one (usually a soldier) would need if he/she reaches a point where to keep alive he/she only has nature in its rawest natural form to provide for the "bare necessities of life". Most of the good kits are put together by experts (usually the department of defense of the respective country) for the forces (Army, Navy or the Air Force). Since these kits are usually meant for soldiers and have to be mass produced while keeping the cost low, one finds a delicate balance between cost, essentials and quality. Stuff put in these boxes has to have a low cost but at the same has to be dependable at the time of need.
Well that was the laymans version of the background for a survival kit. But, today one finds survival kits for camping, travel even weekend survival kits for fun. I stumbled upon a survival kit when I decided to go on a long solo hike and started pondering over the "must haves" in case of an emergency. I decided to come up with my own list of essentials based on the best of all the the good kits out there.. well in theory that was the plan. Well I didn't go for the solo hike but ended up with the Penrith Survival Tin. I compared the contents of 5 kits - Combat Survival kit, Military survival kit, The Ultimate Survival kit (UK), the Ultimate Survival kit (USAF) and the Penrith Survival tin. The first four are from BCB International.
I also looked up Doug Ritter's Pocket Survival Pak from "Equipped To Survive" which has recieved a lot of acclaim as being the Ultimate Survival kit. Maybe it is, maybe not I am not sure. But, it failed to impress me as a whole (maybe without good reason). It does have some items which are worth having especially the Spark lite firestarter and the signal mirror is of really good quality. Overall the reason I chose the Penrith survival tin was that it had most of the items of the other survival tins, with smallest size, decent quality and an unbeatable price. And ofcource there is always the possibility of replacing or adding stuff as an improvement. One should keep in mind though, that it is very tightly packed and has very little space for additions (See above). One crucial thing that it lacks is a whistle, which is present in almost all kits that I have seen so far. Second, I will most definitely be replacing the cotton tinder with "tinder card" or just cut and add a few pieces to it. Replace the water tablets with Katadyn Micropur M1 tablets. Add an analgesic/painkiller, some antibiotic and some triple antibiotic cream. One thing that was present in this tin in the earlier versions but seems to have been replaced with a fishing line is a braided nylon line which is a "semi" pity (actually both would have been good).
One other thing that according to me is a "bare essential" for any camping trip not usually a part of the survival kit is an insect repellent. Don't leave home without one or pray to "whomever you pray to" -- not to get caught into a survival situation with mosquitos. To suggest a good insect repellent which comes in a small package, originally designed for the military, with a name you can trust is -- 3M's Ultrathon - its good. People may differ with me as this being a bare essential for survival, but if you get your blood sucked every now and then without respite, believe me you would rather want to kill yourself than survive.
Do lookup Don Rearic's review of the Penrith Tin which is more comprehensive. Nice to know some one out there holds a similar view.
Also one needs to mention that this kit was modeled over the survival book by John "Lofty" Wiseman which by itself is a great buy. Finally to restate this statement that you may read whenever you read reviews of survival kits -- "This may just save your life".
T.A.D. Gear Inc. - $29.95
Penrith Survival Equipment - £19.00